When was my house built?

To get home insurance, you’ll need to tell your provider how old your property is. While you don’t have to be spot on with the date, it’s important to be as accurate as possible, as this can help to determine how much you’ll pay. Here’s how you can find out when your house was built.

To get home insurance, you’ll need to tell your provider how old your property is. While you don’t have to be spot on with the date, it’s important to be as accurate as possible, as this can help to determine how much you’ll pay. Here’s how you can find out when your house was built.

Chris King
From the Home team
4
minute read
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Posted 16 DECEMBER 2020

Dig out your home survey

One of the easiest ways to find out the year your house was built is by looking at the home survey you had done before you bought the property. Most surveyors will carry out an age check on the building to determine how old it is.

The survey will also tell you what materials have been used to build your house, which can also affect the price of your home insurance premium.

Submit an enquiry to HM Land Registry

HM Land Registry records information about properties in England and Wales. It documents land ownership, not when property was built on the land. So while it won’t necessarily tell you the exact age of your property, it could give you a good idea.

For a fee of £3, a land registry search could tell you when the developer who built the property first sold it to a buyer. You could find out the approximate date your house was built by checking its first transfer of ownership, or its first lease.

If the property is in Scotland, you’ll need to search the Registers of Scotland. If it’s in Northern Ireland, contact Land & Property Services.

Speak to your local council

Another way to find out when a property was built is to ask your local authority if they have a record of when planning permission was granted for the construction of your house.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this could take some time as councils have been known to take a while when it comes to answering planning queries. Not only that, records occasionally get lost, particularly if they were drawn up before the days of electronic files.

Consult an estate agent

If you’re buying a home and need to get your buildings insurance in place before exchanging contracts, it might be worth getting in touch with the seller or their estate agent to see if they can date when the house was built.

The vendor must fill in a seller’s property information form before putting their home on the market, so this may reveal the age of the property.

Top tip: Don’t forget, once you’ve worked out the date of your home, to write it down and keep it somewhere safe. You don’t want to have to go through the same process next year, when you can only vaguely remember what the answer was.

Talk to your neighbours

If all else fails, there’s a good chance one of your neighbours will know how old the properties on the street are. They may have had a home survey done themselves, or their deeds might contain age details. Of course, this only applies if your houses are identical or very similar in appearance.

There’s no harm in asking as it might save you a lot of time and hassle – plus it’s a way of getting to know your neighbours better.

How do I find out when an older house was built?

If you have a pre-1920s house, there are other ways to find when your property was built, as more information is publicly available.

Compare architectural features
An older home will usually have a distinctive style and character features. Windows, doors, roofs and even skirting boards can all point to a particular era.

Historic England also has lots of information on estimating the age of your property based on architectural features of the house.

Check the 1862 Act Register
You can search when your house was built online through HM Land Registry’s archives. It contains information on 2,000 properties built before 1862, which you can search for free.

Check census records
It might be worth looking at census data, collected every 10 years, to find a first mention of your address.

Trawl local archives
Local councils have a wealth of archive material on their area. You could search your local parish records, county record offices or library for clues. Old maps, building plans, photos and newspaper articles can all help you find out when your home was built.

Why does it matter when my house was built for insurance?

When you’re shopping for home insurance quotes, you’ll be asked when your house was built. That’s because its age reveals a lot about the property and has an impact on the premium you pay.

As a general rule of thumb, older properties are more expensive to insure because they’re more prone to structural problems, while ageing pipes can lead to water damage claims.

New houses tend to be cheaper to insure because they’re built using modern materials and are less likely to suffer wear and tear.

Your property will usually be put into a pricing band by home insurance providers – so checking the exact date your house was built could potentially save you money. For instance, if you estimated a build date of 1975 on your policy but your home was actually built in 1980, you could pay a higher premium than is necessary.

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